How to Care For Your First Rose
By Consulting Rosarian Pat Hamilton
The key to growing roses of any kind is to give them a proper home. They need a planting site that gets at least six hours of sun a day and offers rich soil with good drainage. Never plant a rose in a spot that has continually heavy wind. If you've got the sun but not the soil, you'll have to do a little amending. Simply add a hefty dose of compost, horse manure or leaf mold to the planting area.
Container-grown roses can be planted as soon as they arrive at area nurseries. To plant them, dig a hole twice the diameter of the root ball. Mix half the native soil with compost or other available organic amendments, remove the plant from its pot and place it in the hole at the same depth it was growing in the container. Fill the hole with soil, water well and mulch. To plant a bare-root rose, dig a hole roughly 24 inches deep and wide. Amend the soil if necessary, and form a cone in the planting hole. Spread the roots out evenly on top of the cone; cover, water well and mulch.
The most important disease prevention step you can take is to make sure the rose is planted in rich healthy soil that has lots angle worms to keep it well aerated and loose. Practice good garden sanitation getting rid of fallen leaves as soon as possible and apply fresh mulch to smother any overwintering fungal spores.
Remember roses need water, never spray or feed your bushes when their roots are dry. Roses need at least an inch of water a week to grow and flourish in our area.. Pay attention to the rainfall amounts and start watering your plants whenever we don’t receive at least that amount in a week. Don’t overhead water your roses, water at the roots only, to help in the control of fungal spores.
Finally, use a balanced fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium and apply once in early spring and again in midsummer. As long as you have healthy soil it doesn't matter if this comes from chemical or an organic mixture you can prepare yourself. You can also feed the plants about once a month with manure tea or fish emulsion. What ever you choose it will help to add about a pint of alfalfa pellets ( rabbit food without molasses ) and ½ cup epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) to the ground around each bush as a growth stimulant.
Growing roses can be both fun and rewarding. Some grow roses for a beautiful yard display and others want flowers to cut for a bouquet for personal use or to give to others. You can have flowers for bouquets from May to December on most years. Whatever your reasons for growing roses you want them to be beautiful and that is synonymous with healthy. What do roses need to be healthy? Air, water, nutrients, healthy soil and love.